Eva Women’s Aid is a Domestic and Sexual Violence Support Service based in the Redcar and Cleveland area.
Previously, Eva Women’s Aid received funding from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Rape Support Fund. This was to provide support to victims of rape and sexual abuse to enable them to cope and recover.
In 2019, the MoJ announced a competitive exercise whereby services had to bid for future funding which would be awarded over a sustainable period of time.
Unfortunately, Eva were not successful in this process. This left their counselling service at risk of closing. As a result, a number of vulnerable victims faced being ostracised and unable to access vital services, especially those from within rural communities.
The PCC wrote to Edward Agar MP in July 2019 expressing concern for victims of sexual violence in Redcar and Cleveland. He raised concerns about the barriers they faced in having to access to services outside their local area.
In addition, the OPCC established a Sexual Violence Commissioners Forum. This brings together commissioners from across the area including NHS England, local authorities and the Clinical Commissioning Group.
This forum meets regularly to ensure that support services are available to meet the needs of victims including services that are accessible in a timely manner, specialist and sustainable.
While work commenced and developed, the OPCC agreed to provide funding to Eva up to March 2020.
This will enable Eva to consider their long term sustainability plans. It will also give commissioners a chance to gain a greater understanding of need. This is with the potential to co-commission services in future.